Published Date: Mar 22, 2014
Holistic approach on water insecurity
Rising water insecurities can propel conflicts in the future. There is a
need for conservation and proper management of water resources in the
This was expressed by a number of experts and community
members at a special seminar on ‘Water for Future: Perspectives from
Pakistan’ to mark the World Water Day on Friday.
The event was
organized by Oxfam, SPO, SDPI, IUCN, PARC, Indus Consortium and
Mobilink. Panelists and experts discussed the issues like water in
Pakistan’s perspective, challenges for future related to water, water
for equitable social outcomes and macro issues of water sector in
Speaking at the occasion, Naseer Memon, Executive Director
SPO, highlighted that there is no policy framework for water management
in Pakistan. Equity and access to clean water and sanitation have become
major issues for a number of local communities in the country. Water
variability is also high in the country; certain areas have higher
availability of water resources while others continue to suffer from
"Policy frameworks should be developed at the
provincial level, and should be consolidated into a comprehensive
framework for the country," observed Zaigham Habib.
He said that
there is a need to ensure equitable water distribution across Pakistan.
Indigenous populations and communities should be made part of the
development process, he stressed.
Abid Suleri, Executive Director
SDPI, said that there is a need for greater political wisdom to address
policy gaps in water related policies. He said that the media and the
civil society could play a key role in sensitizing policy-makers over
Shahid Ahmed from the IUCN said that unless the
sewage system is properly managed in Pakistan, water related issues
cannot be resolved. The country also lacks in water-borne
transportation. The biogas produced from sewage can also be used as fuel
for vehicles, he said.
Water has become an increasingly scarce
resource and as energy demand grows, conflicts over water will increase.
Competition over water resources is already on the rise among
municipalities, farmers, industrial and power suppliers, as evident in
many parts of the world including Pakistan.
Qamar Zaman, Senior
Advisor Climate Change LEAD Pakistan, said that climate change is now a
priority agenda globally. "However, the issue is not given as much
importance in Pakistan. The country’s vulnerability to climate change
has also been on the rise over the last few years, as evident by erratic
movements in the frequency of rainfall. Pakistan’s climate change
policy should focus on adoption of frameworks being developed globally,"
Dr Fatah Murree, Project Director Sindh Water Sector
Improvement Project, said that at micro level, we have water and
sanitation issue, which should be addressed in local government law. He
said that drinking water and health issues should also be resolved.
from all over the country also shared their problems related to water
shortage, floods and health issues due to industrial wastage dumping in
Abrar Kazi highlighted that international law has
advanced substantially on water issues and water related conflicts.
However, there is little awareness and education on water management in
Pakistan. Climate change has been inducing glaciers melting in the
country, which can lead to inter-temporal water insecurities.
Jabbar Khan stressed that there is a need to bridge the knowledge gap
for the welfare of those most vulnerable to water related issues.
Ahmed, Head-Climate Change Study Centre, SDPI, observed that water,
energy and food securities are interdependent and a policy shift in one
of the streams would affect others. There is, therefore, a need to
develop a policy framework that deals with all three of these issues in a
Saleem Malik from PRAC presented case studies on
the use of alternative energy tools, including solar powered pumps, for
irrigation purposes in Pakistan.